Sidor som bilder

covery of the Syriac, and as to the latter, though, under other circumstances, the mere measure of even an Epistle, furnishes no criterion, yet in the case of a martyr in bonds, it is of some importance, even when considered by itself; and when viewed in connection with the matter of the Epistle, and other concomitants, it may amount to a strong proof. On such considerations the Syriac Ignatius seems to us to be the most natural representative of the original limits. It requires but a glance at the toilsome travel and transportation of the elevated martyr, to see that there was but rare opportunity to write long Epistles in the change from place to place, much of which was on foot. Ignatius had not even the quiet of a prison, when he wrote his Epistles, and " bound to ten leopards” (soldiers) on his way to Rome, and constantly annoyed by these, as he was, it certainly is much to suppose that he could write at all. Brief, at all events he must have been, and our surprise, rather admiration is, not, therefore, that these Syriac Epistles should be so short, but rather that the good man could so far forget his own trials as to write so much.

Nor is there in truth any thing lost by this reduction. Nay, the loss, if any thing in this case, is a real gain. We gain in weight, more than we lose in number or over-charged matter. Whatever subjects may be affected by the testimony of Ignatius, are rather strengthened than weakened by a single reference or passing allusion.

Thus literature, criticism, and some of our theology, are more in harmony with the text measured by the Syriac ; and if for the sake of truth, we give up even more than we anticipated, still what we have is so much the more secure from any serious aggression. Better, in the words of Thucydides, is such a firm and permanent possession, than the harrassing alternative of contending ever and anon, for what, after all, would remain disputed ground. Minua sis asi pardov η αγωνισμα εις το παράχρημα.

Nor are these shorter Epistles without a more practical benefit for the plainer Christian. Simplicity and conciseness, earnestness and fervor, the absence of matter foreign to the time and the occasion, all combine to harmonize with a feeling that we are here reading the purer effusions of that martyred Saint, whose only care is now to utter what may contribute to the edification of God's Church. And if to other tests, we can also add this one, a happier, holier influence on our own minds and hearts, we may then have the last, not the least, the crowning witness that these Epistles are from a pure Apostolic man.


pp. 276.

Art. VII.- Constitutiones Societatis Iesu. Anno. 1558. Re

printed from the original edition ; with an Appendix, containing a Translation and several important Documents. London: J. G. & F. Rivington, St. Paul's Church Yard,

&c., 1838. 8vo. History of the Jesuits, f: om the foundation of their Society to its

suppression by Pope Clement XIV; their Missions throughout the world ; their Educational System and Literature; with their revival and present state. By Andrew SteinMETZ, Author of the Noviciate, &c. Two volumes. Phil. adelphia : Lea & Blanchard. New Haven: S. Babcock, 1848. 8vo. pp. 468, 480.

Results, the most important in their bearing upon the wellbeing of mankind and the Church, can often be traced back to a very insignificant beginning. The germ of a revolution has been the gratification of a mere personal pique; and the falling of an apple was intimately connected with all the discoveries of modern science. When Ignatius Loyola, in defending the Capital of Navarre against an invading army, received the wound which disabled bim for military service, and led him, after dethroning from his heart a fair and highborn Castilian maid, to take a vow of self-renunciation and devotion to the service of God, none saw in this almost unknown and enthusiastic man, the founder of a religious order which should eventually exert such prodigious influence upon the world.

The “Society of Jesus," almost from the time of their founder, have been regarded with no ordinary interest. Again and again have they been banished as outlaws from Christian countries. England, Venice, Portugal, France, Spain and Sicily, have driven them from their coasts, and for a long period of stormy revolution on the Continent of Europe, many a deeply laid plot against the person of a Sovereign, many a device for the deprivation of human rights and the enslaving of the public mind, can be traced to Jesuit influence. Louis XIV, who revoked the edict of Nantz, and banished in a moment fifty thousand families from France, had three Jesuit confessors. By supple management, they wormed themselves into the confidence and secrets of sovereigns; though under the vow of voluntary poverty, they yet amassed immense wealth ; they controlled the education of the youth in every Papal country in Europe; and by intrigue, syco. phancy, and flattery, gave direction in no inconsiderable degree to public affairs.

Having become the confessors of Sovereigns, the policy and plans of governments were in their possession, and it was made their duty to transmit these to the General of the Order. Being a secret society, with no badge or countersign, they awakened no suspicion. Their members alone made them formidable. When in 1540, Loyola petitioned the Pope for the institution of the order, it numbered ten members; in 1549, there were twenty-two establishments and two provinces; and in 1710, the order possessed twenty-four professed houses ; fifty-nine houses of probation ; three hundred and forty residences; six hundred and twelve colleges; two hundred missions; one hundred and fifty seminaries and boarding schools; and consisted of nineteen thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight Jesuits. And yet this formidable body, by rule of the order, and by the most remarkable system of discipline recorded in history, was completely under the will of one single man, the General of the Order, who alone thought and willed for, and the pulsations of whose heart were felt through the whole fraternity.

The Order of Jesuits, unlike the other orders in the Romish Church, was designed for active service. They went every where, insinuated themselves into every secret society, and assumed continually every form and shape. Sometimes we find them exploring the fields of science; sometimes aping the Puritan mein, they stood up with long faces in Puritan pulpits, to prove the ceremonies of the English Church to be

rags of Popery;" and then anon we detect them contriving a “ gunpowder plot;" attempting the murder of a Queen; or busy among the people, stirring up a conspiracy against a Sovereign, for the purpose of crowning a Popish Pretender. For a considerable time an impenetrable veil of secrecy concealed the principles and movements of the Jesuits. At a former period they awakened attention, yet the suppression of the order in 1773, and their dispersion, has diverted the public mind somewhat from them. Of late years, however, the revival of the order in 1814, by Pius VII, and more recent events in which they have been concerned, have served to bring them again into notice, and to render reliable information concerning them of interest and importance.

The works at the head of our Article, have supplied us with many of the facts which we propose now to lay before the reader, and to make the basis of some observations. The first named consists of the “Constitutions of the Jesuits," a


most important document ; also the Bull of Pope Paul III, for the Confirmation of the Order, in 1540; the Bull of Pope Clement XIV, for the suppression of the Order, in 1773; which is a long but most valuable paper; and the Bull of Pope Pius VII, for the re-establishment of the Order, in 1814.

The Constitutions, as they were the production of Ignatius, so they are the embodiment of a plan which Ignatius alone could have conceived. The despotic Richelieu declared that it was a model of administrative policy, and yet one can hardly appreciate the fitness of every part, without an accurate knowledge of the times themselves in which the instrument was framed. The simony of the priesthood was the standing topic of Luther's irresistible appeals; the Jesuits took the vow of voluntary poverty. The loathsomeness of the Confessional, prompted them to set a double guard in this respect. The Monastic Orders, with their badges of distinction, and their public rehearsal of the Breviary, had become excessively odious; the Jesuits only wore the dress of ordinary ecclesiastics, or conformed in this respect entirely to the people among whom they lived. The most remarkable feature of the Constitutions, however, and that which gave such almost superhuman efficiency to the Institution, was the systematic and exact order which pervaded the society, and the prompt subserviency of every part to the will of one man. As a writer says, “ Jesuitism is a sword, of which the handle is at Rome, and the point every where." And a general of the order is reported to have declared : “See, my Lord, from this chamber I govern not only Paris but China ; not only China, but a whole world, without any one knowing how it is done.” The inviolable secrecy preserved, even among its own members, as to its operations; its perfect unity, and its capacity for unlimited extension; its varied degrees of rank, and the careful training for each of the higher grades, making the members every one picked men; the regular and minute reports from the local Superior to the Provincial, and from the Provincial to the General, conveying in a species of cypher, exact information from the most distant outposts; the careful attention paid to all the little courtesies of life, to manners, dress, in short, to every thing which makes the finished gentleman; the stratagy contrived, and the cool judgment and matured learning contributed to carry on the game; these were some of the features of this new institution, which was now to play its important part in the history of the world. While entire self-abnegation was a condition of admission, yet Ignatius was careful to consult each man's tastes aud inclina. tions in the work assigned him, as well as his capacity for effective service. As Steinmetz says, “ Ignatius had an orator for one enterprise, a statesman for another, a philosopher for a third, a deep-toned moralist for a fourth, and observe the important faci-a gentleman for all."

Ignatius Loyola, was, beyond question, one of the most remarkable men who have ever found a place in the pages of history. Although the Romish descriptions of him are so highly wrought as to forfeit all confidence, yet we gather from them that his personal appearance was not particularly prepossessing. Of moderate stature, dark complexion, with piercing eyes deeply set, and a broad capacious forehead, such he appeared to a casual observer. Intellectually and morally, he was a rare specimen of humanity. Sensitive to points of honor, and studiously observant of the rules of decorum ; cool and deliberate in laying his plans, yet a perfect zealot in their execution; excessively humble in his demeanor, yet winning over to himself those whom he thought necessary to him; a mystery of concealment himself, yet reading at a glance the thoughts and feelings of others; yielding and pliant as a rush to those who promised successful opposition, yet with a stubborness of will which finally overcame every obstacle ; he appeared to possess in himself the most conflicting elements of character, and these in the highest degree.

His power of fascination seemed to hold spell-bound all who came within the charmed circle. The method which he employed to convert Francis Xavier to his service, shows an amazing knowledge of the secret springs of human conduct. No two men were ever more unlike by nature, than Ignatius and Xavier, and yet the eagle-eye of the former, saw in the person of the latter, one, who, not as a mere co-operator, but as a subordinate, would be fully equal to his boundless ambition. Francis Xavier was descended from one of the proudest and most illustrious families in Navarre; he was born in a castle of the Pyrenees; and the warm heart of the young mountaineer throbbed at the recital of the military legends of that chivalrous age; yet he was persuaded by his family to enter the University of Paris, where he contended successfully for pre-eminence, and became qualified to be a public teacher of philosophy. His chair was afterwards surrounded with the studious, and his society courted by the gay and the noble. He was a man of noble bearing; of high and daring purpose ; of a soul full of warm sympathies, yet a stranger to fear; and fired with a spirit of ardor which never flagged, whether he stood at the foot of the burning mountain in Moro, amid the dangers

« FöregåendeFortsätt »